Wednesday, December 19, 2007

World Plus 70,000,000

Chevron ran an eye-catching full page ad in the WSJ (12-18-07, p. A5) that began: "The world is growing by more than 70 million people a year. So is that a problem, or a solution?" Not knowing how adding 70 million people a year could be any kind of a solution, I actually continued reading the small print. The tiny text went on to say that the need for energy would increase by 50% over the next 25 years and could be one of the greatest challenges our generation will face. Hum, what else is new, I thought. But then came the real meat of the matter: "The key to insuring success is found in the same place that created this need: humanity itself. When the unique spirit we all posses is allowed to flourish, mankind has proven its ability to take on, and overcome, any issue. It's a spirit of hard work, ingenuity, drive, courage, and no small measure of commitment. To success, to each other, to the planet. The problem becomes the solution. This human energy that drives us to succeed has been there every day since the beginning. And it will be with us to shape many tomorrow's to come. So join us in tapping the most powerful source of energy in the world. Ourselves. And watch what the human race can do." Indeed it is challenge and striving that pushes humanity's evolutionary envelope both physically and mentally, a fact that these words captured most compellingly. That a huge oil company printed this ad showed real enlightenment--it could almost have been written by one of the Tibetan Masters.

And now back to China where we spent much of yesterday: in a page before the enlightened Chevron ad was the headline "China's Environmental Agency Gets Teeth." No we are not referring to dentures here, rather a sea-change in attitude regarding the environment in that rapidly growing economy: "China's environmental controls, long criticized as weak and ineffective, are starting to have real economic bite. This year, officials have rejected billions of dollars of new factories and other investment projects for failing to meet standards." The article emphasizes the fact that from 1995 to 2005, the state agency who controls the environmental rejected only 2 proposals; last year it rejected 110 and this year 187 representing $91 billion in spending that will not happen. In fact, the agency is showing the world that China can and will tackle tough problems when confronted by economic realities and outside pressure to change. Of note was a requirement for public comment, which had always been in place and routinely ignored,
on the building of an impending nuclear power plant. This enlightened trend is worth watching.

And finally, this blogger will be on the road for the next four days, probably thinking and composing future messages the whole time. After all, there are those 100 SCIENCE stories to cull through. See you in a few days.....

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